Australia’s strawberry contamination scare has prompted a crackdown on exports of the fruit.
In order for strawberry export permits to be approved, Australian suppliers are now required to provide assurance to the country’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources that their consignments are free from all metal contaminants.
Interim control measures can include an assurance that the fruit will go through an effective metal screening process (metal detectors or X-ray) prior to export, or on-farm metal screening with measures to ensure product security has been maintained post screening. A visual inspection alone is not being regarded as an acceptable measure.
“These measures apply to fresh strawberry exports to all markets, and will remain in place until the risk of metal contaminants has been appropriately managed,” said a release from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
Australian strawberry exporters took a hit earlier this week when leading New Zealand retail groups Foodstuffs and Countdown announced they had put a hold on procuring Australian strawberries. New Zealand was the second largest market by volume for Australian strawberries over the 2017/18 season.
As reported by Asiafruit yesterday, the bulk of Australian strawberry exports take place during the July–September quarter.